Virginia Tech Picks Up Second Win Against Wofford, 27-7

Grant Wells and Virginia Tech are 2-1 after beating Wofford. (Ivan Morozov)

It took the Virginia Tech offense a few drives to find a groove on Saturday against Wofford, but once the Hokies did, it was enough to pick up their second win of the season against the Terriers in a 27-7 win at Lane Stadium.

“I thought we were able to move the ball and stay on schedule better,” Virginia Tech head coach Brent Pry said after the win. “We converted better on third down, we had some long, extended drives. We just weren’t as good in the red zone as you wanted. … I’d like to score touchdowns.”

Despite Tech racking up 156 yards on its first three possessions, it came away with just six points, courtesy of two field goals from Will Ross. But the fourth time was the charm.

It took a 12-play, 82-yard drive that lasted over five-and-a-half minutes for Virginia Tech to score its first touchdown. Jalen Holston carried the ball seven times for 35 yards on that series, and he scored the eventual touchdown.

It meant a lot to Holston, who told Tech Sideline after the game that he returned to practice this week for the first time in 26 days. A heel injury kept him sidelined up to that point, but he played on Saturday and had 16 rushes for 66 yards and a touchdown.

“It was incredible for my coaches to be able to trust me, for my teammates to trust me,” Holston said. “Knowing where I’ve been in the last couple of months, just getting back into rhythm was incredible.”

Had Grant Wells not connected with Jadan Blue on a third-and-19, Holston wouldn’t have had his chance. After a holding penalty, Wells hit Blue over the middle, who leaped up and made an acrobatic catch for a 29-yard gain, keeping the drive alive. Holston scored a few plays later.

Jadan Blue looked like the player Virginia Tech has expected him to be against Wofford. (Ivan Morozov)

“He made some great catches out there today,” Pry said of Blue. “And really helped us keep drives alive. So I hope that’s the kickstart to get him going, where he can be an impact player. … I’m happy for him.”

Blue was one piece to Tech’s puzzle against Wofford, and it was his first consistent action this season after dealing with a knee injury. He caught four passes for 61 yards, all in the first half, including a touchdown right before halftime. Blue capped off a 10-play, 64-yard drive when Wells found him wide open in the end zone, giving the Hokies a 20-0 lead over Wofford at intermission.

“It means a lot, that’s the best thing I can say,” Blue told reporters after the game. “I’m just grateful. That’s the best thing. I’m very grateful for that opportunity, and I’m thankful that I was able to make those plays when they came to me.”

Tech’s offense wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done. The unit put up 475 yards of total offense, 314 of which came from Wells through the air. He completed 26 of his 35 passes (74.2%) and threw two touchdowns.

Eleven different players recorded a reception, headlined by Nick Gallo and Christian Moss. They each had five catches, for 52 and 50 yards, respectively. Blue added four while Stephen Gosnell and Holston had three each.

“I thought I played well,” Wells said. “Made some completions to start drives, and then we had some big third down conversions that really helped the momentum of the offense. When you have drive starters like that, I think it helps.”

Kaleb Smith caught two passes for 36 yards but went to the locker room before halftime and did not return to the game. He stood on the sidelines without pads for the rest of the contest, and he got X-rays in the locker room. The staff is still evaluating his injury, but Pry said he seemed pretty good after the game. Smith hasn’t been 100% healthy since the start of the season.

Bryce Duke scored his first collegiate touchdown on Saturday. (Ivan Morozov)

However, even though the Hokies spread the ball around, the offense didn’t do anything particularly impressive. Wells hit true freshman Bryce Duke on a wheel route in the fourth quarter for a 27-yard score, the Leesburg native’s first collegiate touchdown, but there wasn’t much else.

The offensive line didn’t get any more of a push than it did in the first two weeks. Meanwhile, the running game averaged just 3.2 yards per carry, which is suboptimal against a FCS foe. Pry admitted Virginia Tech needs to run the ball better.

“We’ve got to pick up a fourth-and-one,” Pry said. “The thing I would say is this: I don’t want to take credit away from Wofford. Coach Conklin is a good defensive coach. … But we’ve got to be better than that.”

Tech’s starting five played the majority of the game too, outside of when Bob Schick relieved Kaden Moore and Silas Dzansi. The latter, Tech’s left tackle who went down injured in the third quarter, could’ve gone if needed, according to Pry.

As far as the defense is concerned, it played well, as expected against an offense that is transitioning offensive systems. Tech finished with four tackles for loss and three sacks, along with a forced fumble. With defensive end TyJuan Garbutt and defensive tackle Josh Fuga sitting out for precautionary reasons (along with running back Keshawn King), other defensive linemen had an opportunity.

At the center of it all on Saturday: C.J. McCray and Cole Nelson.

“We’re getting on the edges,” Pry said of the pass rush. “I think the quarterback’s feeling us. I think when people put the tape on, they’re going to say, ‘OK, we’re not going to be able to sit back here and hold the ball.’ We’ve got to keep it that way.

The Hokies were all over Jimmy Weirick, the Wofford quarterback. (Ivan Morozov)

“We ran a bunch of pressures again today, mixed it up. We’re headed in the right direction. C.J. McCray, Cole Nelson. … In TyJuan’s absence, they stepped up.”

The Terriers recorded 199 yards of total offense, 161 of which came through the air. They had just 19 plays for 51 yards in the first half, so most of their production came when Tech had its backups in. Wofford did get on the board for the first time this season, though.

A six-play, 75-yard drive in the fourth quarter ended the Tech shutout. Wofford quarterback Jimmy Weirick and running back Nathan Rush moved the offense down the field, culminating in a three-yard run from Rush.

Overall, it wasn’t anything special from the Hokies. They took care of business and got some important reps to backups, such as quarterback Jason Brown. But a Thursday night showdown with West Virginia quickly approaches, one of the first big barometers for Virginia Tech this season.

The Battle for the Black Diamond Trophy starts a long, competitive stretch, and the Hokies have some work to do offensively if they want to make a statement.

Box Score: Link 

24 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. First Impression: Damn should’ve been up 35 zip at the half. Wells had some nice passes and completions but need to score TD and NOT FG. The 3 & 4 RB need work. D is coming along.

    Second Impression: Got to 20 without any real problem. Went into second half and let people in the 2 and 3 and 4 deep at WR, RB, O/D-line et al get full speed playing time. Got to see more than Kaleb and Blumrick at WR make catches. Liked Moss & Blue and Duke. At the end of the game managed a long drive with 2-3 deep players and if it were 2 minutes longer gotten a late score.

    Results: team is improving, development is happening, are they world beaters, NO, will they win a game we don’t expect possible (may it be da U). As they say, it’s a Process.
    See you all Thursday.
    GO HOKIES!!!

  2. From what I saw yesterday, Wells is the most accurate passer we’ve had since Michael Brewer or even Tyrod. If the O line improves just a little, and we have Thomas and King in the backfield, those first 2 FGs are TDs, and we score 2-3 TDs more in the 3rd quarter, the final is 49 or 56 to 7. As good as the current backs are, they dont have the burst the two injured starters have, and so we convert 4 or 5 of those third-and-shorts rather than punting…. This is speculation of course, but look at the running game with BC before and after King went out.
    With the running game a little more threatening, the passing becomes much more exciting!!

  3. Eh, whatever. Trap game and we took care of business. I suspect ({hope?) that the vanilla playcalling was to keep the couch-burners guessing.

  4. Agree about OL – that’s my biggest disappointment. And if your worried about the ODU loss just look at how they almost won at UVA yesterday.

  5. Grant Wells had a great game >>>>

    WR’s made some great catches. The OL gave Wells enough time. It seems like he throws most passes at one speed – high speed. and is a little slow on his progressions.

    BTW – Wofford may not have great players – but they were well coached. They had 7 in the box most plays – and that’s why the wheel route went for the TD.

    The D looks stronger than ’21. And quicker. And better tackling. DAX – finally making plays. Big diff in his quickness at recognizing plays – and making them.

    1. Sorry friend, but you’re likely going to have to deal with “unacceptable” for at least the next year. We’re in full-on rebuild mode, and the best we can hope for is incremental improvement week to week. Temper your expectations and learn to get your weekly inspiration from solid individual or group improvement, regardless of the score at the end of the game. 6-6 is a really solid goal to shoot for, and I’d be psyched if we can hit that while also making those small improvements for individual players as well as units and full teams over the course of the year.

      The only thing that’s really going to get me down is if we end up with any major regression after already making improvements, and even that gets its own set of parameters (e.g. we play a much stronger opponent and don’t hit any of our measurables from past games against weak opponents – makes sense it would happen). I don’t expect the season to be a great one, and neither should you – temper your expectations.

      1. Well put. I can add that we want to see improvements in the problem areas during the Fuente era. We need a culture of hard work off the field, coaching consistency, locker room unity, and better recruiting especially in-state. If and when those things happen, we will see success.

        For those who are grouchy that a time machine can’t take us back to 2003, call Nebraska. They will be happy to listen to your complaints.

      2. +++++++1. Well done MyName. I’m in Buckeye country here in Ohio and it’s like our fans are used to playing for nat’l championships every year. I mean … Buckeyes fans are rabid but they’re used to playing for all the marbles. As in .. ALL. We’re years away from contending in the ACC. The ACC. C’mon folks, let’s align **REALITY** with expectations.

  6. WC, could an new system/OC mean it could take some time to gel, or are they just not any good? What I’m hearing is no push to speak of….thats not acceptable vs ODU and Wofford!

  7. WVa 65-7 over Towson. Remember when we used to do that to FCS teams? I barely can. It seems so long ago. Even if we had squeaked out a win against ODU and were 3-0, we are not a very good team and I am not impressed with our offensive play-calling. I’m afraid of what is going to happen when we start playing better teams. I have downgraded my expectations tremendously and now would be happy just to finish 6-6 and make a crappy bowl.

    1. Frankly I can never remember us running up the score like you mention whether it’s FBS/FCS or whatever designation you wish to use for the opposition. Frank Beamer never ran up the score just out of pure sportsmanship. In fact he’d go out of his way to make sure we didn’t do it. Fuente never had teams capable of scoring those kind of numbers. Part of the problem over the three HC’s is that we always seemed to “play down to our competition” and left them “in the game” and therefore didn’t have many opportunities for backups to get reps they needed. All that many of them got was mop-up duty with time running out in the 4th quarter! In these first 3 games, our “very experienced” offensive line should have been able to manhandle the defensive lines, and IMO they have failed most of the time thus far.

    2. I remember beating Furman 24-0 and struggling to do so. That was a “good” Hokie team during the program’s heyday. Relax.

  8. I hope the real offense shows up starting Thursday, rather vanilla so far without much consistency passing or running. QB1 is taking too long to get rid of the ball and is therefore taking too many hits. The O-line is not getting push at the point-of-attack and the successful runs are due to great plays by the RB’s. Still very early days, but I sure would like to pay WVu back on Thursday night.

  9. Glad for the win…Offensive definitely improving this week..
    Grant Wells had a great game and good to see him spread the ball around. Running game still a work in progress. IMO…we just don’t have the horses at RB at this point to get the job done…but injuries obviously a factor.
    Overall heading in the right direction finally…just need time and recruiting.
    Luv the new coaches.
    Go Hokies!

    1. The O line isn’t good getting push off the line of scrimmage right now. The RBs seem hesitant for sure but there is not a lot of holes to run through.

Comments are closed.